A head injury is one that involves trauma to the skull, scalp or brain. Head injuries can be open or closed. Open head wounds occur when an object pierces the scalp. Closed head injuries occur when there is damage to the blood vessels surrounding the brain or within the brain. Because of the vast variation in the nature of such injuries, treatment protocols vary. From a small lump on the forehead to a brain injury that is not visible, each head injury demands medical evaluation.
Get Justice with an Experienced Head Injury Lawyer
David Azizi is a highly-regarded personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. He has been practicing there for 23 years, winning 98 percent of his cases. Head injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) demand that an attorney be well versed in the intricacies of such trauma and have the resources to call on medical experts as needed during a case.
From the first moment David represents you until your case is won, he guards your rights by standing in your stead as he negotiates your case with the insurance company. He does everything necessary to ensure that you receive the monetary compensation you deserve. Call him as soon as an accident happens at (800) 991-5292, so he will be able to evaluate crash site evidence, talk to witnesses and obtain video footage of the accident if possible. Rely on David and use the time to heal and get back to life.
Head Injury Statistics
Close to 1.5 million Americans suffer head injuries annually. Of this number, approximately 60,000 people die and roughly 260,000 are hospitalized. Emergency room visits have been tabulated at about 1.1 million each year. About 5.3 million people in this country live with a head injury. While children and older adults are more at risk for significant brain injuries, 57 percent of those who suffer a head injury are employed when it happened. Overall, more men suffer a head injury than women. After falls, motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of head injury. Overall, 75 percent of head injuries are mild, according to Healthline, although 70,000 of those affected are permanently disabled.
Symptoms Associated with a Minor Head Injury
Certain symptoms are associated with a minor head injury:
- Bleeding: Since the scalp is supplied by many blood vessels, a laceration of the scalp can result in profuse bleeding. This often looks as if the wound is worse than it really is.
- Vomiting, particularly in younger victims
- Irritability, often seen in children
Symptoms Associated with a Severe Head Injury
As with a minor injury, the symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury. Aside from the symptoms described above some individuals with a major head injury may experience:
- Blacking out or losing consciousness: This commonly begins when the person is injured and persists for varying amounts of time from moments to days.
- Major disorientation
- Problems with balance and movement
- Eye movements that are abnormal
- Mood changes
- Problems focusing
- Headache that is persistent and severe
- Clear fluid draining out of the ears and nose: This is most often seen with a basilar skull fracture.
- Memory loss
- Hearing difficulties
- Lack of muscle control
- Blurred vision
- Distorted speech
- Blind spots in the visual field
Medical Evaluation After a Head Injury
While some head injuries appear to be mild, it is always best to be evaluated by a medical professional. This is particularly true if you have blacked out, seem confused or are unable to recall easily remembered facts such as your name, date of birth or the year. Movement almost always makes a head injury worse. For this reason, calling 911 to send for emergency help is best. They will make sure that the injured person’s head, spine and neck are immobilized for transport.
Types of Head Injuries
Depending on the intensity of the symptoms, the area of impact and whether the brain is damaged or not, the following are some of the more significant types of head injury that occur:
- Concussion: This is caused by the impact of the brain against the interior, rough surfaces of the skull. Concussions can range from mild to severe. In most cases, the symptoms associated with this injury subside within a few months. If repeated or severe concussions occur, damage may be permanent.
- Skull fracture: Skull fractures, like fractures anywhere in the body, range from mild to severe. The skull itself is strong and does not break easily. Sometimes, the brain is also injured. Some symptoms associated with a skull fracture are swelling around the area of the break, facial bruising behind the ears or around the eyes and bleeding from the ears and nose. A skull fracture can be closed, without a break in the skin, or open. In the latter case, the skin is lacerated, and the cranial bone may be seen. Other types of skull fracture include a break in the floor of the skull, known as a basilar fracture, or a depressed fracture where the bone is indented at the site of the break. Diagnosis is made using CT scans or X-rays. Most skull fractures heal with time, however, basilar and indented fractures may require surgery.
- Swelling in the brain: This occurs as a reaction to injury and puts pressure on the brain. It is this pressure that causes symptoms. In most cases, the pressure must be relieved using surgical intervention.
- Hematoma: This occurs when blood accumulates outside the blood vessels. It puts pressure on the brain and may resorb on its own. However, surgery may be needed. If the pressure is not removed, permanent brain damage can result.
- Hemorrhage: Sometimes, bleeding within the brain occurs (intracerebral hemorrhage) or in the space above the brain tissue itself (subarachnoid hemorrhage). Usually, the pressure on the brain must be relieved surgically to prevent further damage.
- Diffuse axonal trauma: This is one of the most damaging types of brain injury and often leads to permanent damage. It results in a loss of brain functioning.
- Brain herniation: Sometimes, injury to the brain can force it to move downward in the skull through a small opening in the layers of tissue that separate the natural compartments of the brain. The most common occurs when the temporal lobe of the brain moves through a notch between the temporal lobe and the cerebellum at the base of the brain. A common symptom is dilatation of the pupil, and death, coma, ceasing of respiration or paralysis may result.
Outcome of a Head Injury
This depends on the type of injury and its severity. Mild injuries often require rest and time. Severe head injuries are different. The ability to recover from a serious head injury also depends on the age of the victim. Children often recover fully while adults may recover some function. For instance, if the area of the brain that controls language is damaged, the other side of the brain will take over this function in children if the injury occurred before they were eight, language will not be affected. Adults, on the other hand, will recover some language skills over a six-month period, but there will most likely be an impairment in speech that results.
Seizures can result from a head injury, and medications to treat them are needed. Memory may or may not be restored. This depends largely on the length of time the person was unconscious. A short period will usually result in full recovery while extended periods of unconsciousness may be linked to amnesia. Visual dysfunction and the inability to move often result after a severe head injury.
Questions to Ask After an Accident With a Head Injury
- Liability: A head injury due to a motor vehicle accident can become a complex issue when determining financial damages. The first question should automatically be whether there was liability associated with the accident. In other words, was one of the parties to the accident negligent. If the answer is yes, then the next should question whether there was more than one negligent driver. Since the state of California allows shared fault, called comparative liability, this affects the final compensation an injured person may collect. For instance, if two drivers were equally liable for the accident, then both drivers may collect 50 percent of their monetary loss due to the accident.
- Costs: There are two types of damages. These are the general (noneconomic) damages, which include pain and suffering and the specific damages (economic) ones, which include medical costs, lost wages and property loss. With many head injuries, future cost is an important factor since victims are left with considerable disability.
- Punitive damages: Such damages are meant as a punishment for egregious acts in an accident. For instance, a drunk driver who kills someone in a crash.
Free Case Review with Our Los Angeles Head Injury Law Firm
After a head injury, many people find themselves in debt due to mounting medical costs and lost wages. Turn to the compassionate legal assistance of David Azizi for the help you need to move forward after an accident, and collect the compensation you deserve. David has consistently been named one of the top personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles by Super Lawyers. This becomes apparent after meeting David during your free case evaluation. In addition, David is always available to answer your questions, and for this purpose, he gives clients his cell phone number. Call today at (800) 991-5292 to get started. You’ll join the ranks of Angelenos who know the law firm of David Azizi was the right choice.